January 26, 2014
John 3: 1-10
Intro: Jesus knew what was in a man.
• John thinks we need to know this before he tells the story of the way Jesus dealt with people --- A Nobleman, A Samaritan woman, A Religious Leader.
• He could look you in the eye --- and see your heart. Nothing hidden, everything exposed… No Games, pretensions, delusions… Eyes like flames of fire….
T/S – Nicodemus thought he was doing Jesus a favor by coming to him early in his ministry. Afterall, Jesus was a nobody from a working class family in the backwoods of Galilee; while Nicodemus was at the top of the religious and political ladder --- The Establishment. He thought he was elevating Jesus by affirming His ability to teach. Jesus cut him off --- I do not need your affirmation; You need My Intervention. You must been born anew, from above.
Read John 3: 1-10
Vs. 2 – This compliment was actually a condescending remark.
Jesus is More… isn’t He?
The first of many to compliment Jesus right out of His
Divinity and His Redeeming Work. MacClaren
Vs. 3 – Born Again = Born Anew or from Above
“See … Enter.. The Kingdom of God”
Participate in the New Creation that comes from the Redemption and Reign of Jesus --- forever, beginning now!
Vs. 6 Born Again = Born of the Spirit
t/s – Good people have the most difficult time with Jesus.
People who have a place in society, respected. Nic could not grasp the truth about Jesus until he came to grips with the truth about Himself. He underestimated Jesus because He overestimated himself. So Jesus confronts Nicodemus with the strong language of New Birth!
The New Birth Is a Mystery
Exp – If the concept of being born again confounds you, welcome to the club. It confused Nicodemus also… Provocative!
Vs. 4, 9 – “How can this be?”
Vs. 8 – Like the Wind --- “Wind = Spirit”… God does it.
We acknowledge the wind without understanding it.
ILL – George Whitefield and Ben Franklin were friends… Letters
August 17, 1752; Whitefield wrote to Franklin
As you have made considerable progress into the mysteries
of electricity, I would now humbly recommend you study the
mystery of the new birth. It is a most important, interesting study, and when mastered, will richly repay you. The One, at whose bar we are shortly to appear, hath solemnly declared, that without it we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
App – “Born Again”!! what in the heck is He talking about?!
• Challenge the tendency to try to tame Christianity; to make the Gospel a self-help gimmick; to feed our pride with Religion but avoid our need to a Savior’s Intervention.
You need what you cannot achieve; can’t even understand!
t/s – The idea of a New Birth is provocative, but not new….
The New Birth Is the Clear Promise of God in Scripture.
Exp – Vs. 9 – 10 – Nicodemus is questioning with second time.
Jesus rebukes his lack of apprehension… OT Scripture
• Pharisees took pride in authority of Scriptures
Ezekiel 36: 25-27
Vs. 5 – “Water and Spirit” = this OT text
Cleansing from sin and new life within!
Ill – Ezekiel’s Vision in Chapter 37 – Valley of Dry Bones
“I will put My Spirit in you and you will come to life!”
App – The Good News of Jesus is the promises of God fulfilled.
The History of Israel demonstrates that we need more than religion – Discipline, determination, rules, rituals.
We Need Change --- Life change, Change within!
t/s – This brings us to the most obvious and important truth.
The New Birth Is a Necessity
Exp – Triple repetition… Vs. 3, 5 & 7 You Must be Born Again!
The credentials of Nicodemus are emphasized in vs. 1.
He was the best of the best, religion and society.
If anyone was an exception… It would be him.
No exception --- this is a universal necessity.
Ill – Working with my Dad… He put on work gloves.
He has rough, callous, hands of a lifetime of labor.
My hands suffer an occasional paper cut.
• If he needs gloves… I do without question.
App – Our city is filled with men and women who think they
Are doing Jesus a favor when they call themselves
Christians… Respected, Religious, Right Standing
• When you come to Jesus, you come with compliments, affirmations, kind acknowledgments; but you have never fallen on you face at His feet and cried out, “Lord, have mercy on me, the Sinner!”
Today, you sit in the presence of Jesus, the One Who knows what is in the heart of man. Can you hear Him? Do you sense what He is saying to you? You Must Be Born Again.
Nicodemus could not come to grips with this challenge, not a first. He resisted this assault on his pride. Until, I think, he saw Jesus Crucified. I believe it was at the Cross that Nicodemus finally embraced his need for a Savior. John tells us that Nicodemus carried the broken, bloody body of Jesus from the Cross to His tomb.
Finally, the broken-hearted sinner embraced the crucified Savior.